Charlie delivers his last bowl
Plimmerton Bowling Club lost one of its characters last week.
Charlie Hughes – greenkeeper, match convener, past president, life member – reluctantly left for Christchurch on Saturday to be cared for by his granddaughter. He has cancer and the outlook is not good.
Last Wednesday, 86-year-old Hughes had an emotional send-off at the club. Friends and the bowl- ing fraternity gathered to raise their glasses to the Plimmerton stalwart.
‘‘It was a wonderful night, very humbling,’’ Hughes said.
He recalled pitching up to the club in Grays Rd in 1965.
‘‘A friend persuaded me to join and it’s been a huge part of my life. I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie and spirit of competition. If I take something on, I like to be properly part of it and that’s what I’ve done at Plimmerton.’’
Eight years as greenkeeper had its ups and downs.
‘‘The green needs constant attention. It can be frustrating sometimes because out of 60 members, 58 will have an opinion [about the green], good or not.’’
Hughes won 18 club titles. One year he won three of the four trophies available at the club champs.
His proudest moment was in 2011, when he won the Grant’s Whisky Corner to Corner national competition in Auckland. Along with $3000, he won four bottles of the sponsor’s product.
He put it on the bar when he arrived home, and a good night was had by all.
Hughes said saying goodbye to long friendships, tough competition on the greens and being active hurt.
‘‘It’s hard to just stop. I love the challenge of looking after the green and going out to play.’’
David Wright was Hughes’ pairs partner for 25 years.
‘‘Charlie and I were like wine that matured with age – I had a lot of laughs with him,’’ Wright said. ‘‘There were some tears last week for a loyal club member and a bloody good fella.’’
Club member Dudley Enoka said six people might be needed to fill Hughes’ duties.
Hughes’ ashes will one day be spread in the club garden and a memorial plaque is planned.
Charlie Hughes dedicated much of his life to the Plimmerton Bowling Club.
From left, Seamus Curtin, Charlie Hughes and Con Curtin at Hughes’ farewell last week.